SOUTH STREET REVISITED
Yes, Virginia, there really is aSouth Street. It lives within the confines of a new musical that has just opened at the Pasadena Playhouse. And there couldn’t be a better paean to this celebrated part ofPhiladelphiathan what is exhibited on stage at this fabled theatre.
The complicated scenario involves the in and out fortunes of a club onSouth Streetcalled Sammy’s Place. The bill collectors are constantly lurking in the background and the group keeping the place going has to hunker down to fight off the jackals biting at their heels every which way they turn.
What makes the whole journey worthwhile comes to us in the form of a superlative set design by Andy Walmsley, learned and well seasoned music and lyrics by Richard Adrisi, coupled with a well thought out book by Craig Carlisle and seasoned with really over the top orchestrations by Don Sebesky. All this puts you on notice that you’re in for something far different that what you have grown accustomed to.
I know this sounds like a signature gourmet dish by a chef who knows where he’s heading. And no, I didn’t intend to leave out what congeals the whole affair;
that being, of course, a very talented and energetic cast.
The aforementioned Sammy is portrayed by Tom Shelton who really puts a glow on the whole proceedings with his grasp of the part as he milks it for all its worth.
Three supremely talented women all stand out with their contribution to the show.
Maria Eberline (Cloe), Valerie Perri (Sybil) and Lowe Taylor (Lydia) all echo in perfect unison to the demands of the part they are dealing with. Ms Taylor does a solo turn with ‘What About Me” that brings down the house and makes you wonder why she couldn’t have been utilized more effectively otherwise.
But the overall look of those involved shines forth with professionalism and you can only hope that the show will be Broadway bound.
If there is any carping to be done it might be the overly complicated story with back and forth visits from one era to the next. The story should be pared down, one way or the other. It could be that the director, Roger Castellano, is aware this and might be doing something about it. Otherwise, a joy ride all the way.
Performances thru Oct 16… www.pasadenaplayhouse.org…. 626.356.7529